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Couple Wants Palatine To Allow Backyard Hens

A Palatine couple would like the village to allow them to have backyard hens so that they can enjoy fresh eggs.

Vanessa and Jason Barsanti hope Palatine won't be chicken about their proposal to allow backyard hen houses.

"I've really learned to enjoy creating my own food," said Vanessa Barsanti who lives near the intersection of W. Daniels Road and S. Elm Street. "I didn't know what a real tomato tasted like until I started growing my own. I didn't even like them. It's so much better fresh."

The Barsantis have 13 fruit trees on their half-acre property. They have a huge garden. They grow blackberries and rasberries. But what they don't have are fresh eggs.

The Barsantis have written an amendment to Palatine's zoning code that would allow people to "harbor, keep or raise" female chickens. And the couple has started a Facebook page: "Bring Backyard Hens to Palatine".

"Consider being a part of this group to support green living in the Palatine area by allowing backyard hens!" the Facebook page states.

The Barsantis' amendement would require that hens be kept "within a pen, coop, building or other enclosure sufficient in size and strength to confine such animals to the owner's property."

"She's done a good bit of work laying out the pros of having chickens," said Palatine District 2 Council member Scott Lamerand.

Lamerand said he had little experience regulating fowl, but was keeping an open mind. He said he has asked village staff to look at the proposal and wants the village to contact other communities that have dealt with the issue.

In September 2010, . However, in February 2012 Arlington Heights voted no on allowing chicken coops.

Aside from great tasting fresh eggs, Barsanti said the food also is healthier. Other benefits she points to are natural insect control since hens eat grubs and earwigs.

Barsanti said many of the concerns about small hen houses are based on misconceptions. For example, she said roosters, not hens, are the noisy animals.

"We don't want roosters," she said.

She said her amendment deals with the few issues that can arise, such as requiring that all feed for hens be kept in rodent-proof containers. The amendment also would require that hen houses be at least 20 feet from any other residence.

Lamerand said the issue likely will come down to whether a residential property lot has the ability to raise food and deal with any issues – waste, noise – and how Palatine would regulate such a use.

Lamerand said the amendment still has to be reviewed and likely would not come before the Village Council for a few months.

Ron March 08, 2012 at 09:14 PM
Great idea all need are some decent regulations so the privilege is not abused. I would rather have a real chicken in my yard. All I have now is my councilman.
Louanne March 08, 2012 at 09:23 PM
Awesome idea. I think having the option to raise hens is wonderful. I love the idea of homes becoming more self sufficient. Palatine, you're on to something good by passing this regulation. And if someone were to abuse it, then it should be handled case by case not on a wide spread level.
Kate March 08, 2012 at 10:44 PM
You should be allowed to do whatever you want in regards to your own yard. This is America! You shouldn't even have to ask if you can have hens in your yard. THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS! Let them have the chickens!
Katz March 09, 2012 at 04:34 PM
I believe there is a health issue. There is a reason this was stopped.
Katz March 09, 2012 at 05:01 PM
Excuse my ignorance, but how do you get eggs without a rooster? They make sure everyone is up at 5:00 a.m.
Catherine March 09, 2012 at 06:07 PM
The rooster only fertilizes the egg. Just like a womens cycle, she might or might not have a baby. Depends if the egg is fertilized.
Catherine March 09, 2012 at 06:15 PM
Can you elaborate on the health issue? I haven't heard of any, but I am willing to listen if one is presented. My feeling is, hens would be contained to a specific area and wouldn't do their business everywhere. On the other hand, the wild geese that come in my yard (that I constantly have to chase away,) are more of a threat to a persons health. Not to mention the dog and cat defications in someones yard. I'm speaking as a dog and cat owner here.
Elizabeth Miranti March 11, 2012 at 04:59 AM
I am thrilled Palatine is considering this proposal to allow residents to keep hens. My sister-in-law has kept hens in her suburban back yard near Dallas, Texas, for several years. Her family loves the fresh eggs. The kids have learned a lot about responsibility. Her daughter, a senior in high school, is excelling at AP Biology and now wants to be a veterinarian. Keeping chickens has had a lot of unexpected benefits.
Vanessa May 03, 2012 at 04:29 PM
The only real health issue is salmonella. Salmonella is not airborne, and can only be contracted by touching/ingesting. None of which will effect you if you are not the owner of the hens. Good hen owners will know this, and in order to protect their own health will wash their hands after handling the hens and will wash, refrigerate, and properly cook the eggs (as we all need to with grocery store eggs as well). Chickens otherwise don't generally carry diseases that humans can catch. The only other health threat would be if hen owners did not clean up the droppings. However, there is already Palatine law in the Animal Code (Chapter 5) requiring animal owners to keep areas where animals are kept clean and sanitary. So just as dog owners must pick up their dogs excrement, so must chicken owners.
Kindra Hayes May 15, 2012 at 01:41 AM
All for it! Where do I sign up :)
alyssa gootee June 28, 2012 at 02:15 PM
Hopefully the City of Palatine will understand how important it is to allow people to do things like this to become more self sufficient. My husband and I have become very interested in homesteading and self reliant living. Having hens in your yard is no different and no less safe than having birds in a cage in your home.
Gina July 27, 2012 at 12:37 PM
Vanessa and Jason, I am so grateful for your efforts. Thank you thank you thank you! I'll be joining your Facebook page! I'm in total support of this!

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